Rediscover: Dntel: The Seas Trees See/Away

What is it like to be the forgotten-about member of a duo? I don’t mean like Art Garfunkel or John Oates, who weren’t as beloved but, by the band’s name’s nature, were impossible to truly forget about. I mean “you have a band with two guys, one that everyone knows, and one that nobody remembers.” You can be forgiven for feeling this way about The Postal Service – if you ask most people, “Who was in The Postal Service?” they’re going to remember Ben Gibbard, but are they going to remember Jimmy Tamborello’s name? Probably not, unless you’re talking to a huge dork who will also point out to you that The Postal Service happened because of Tamborello inviting Gibbard to sing on “(This Is) the Dream of Evan and Chan” on Life Is Full of Possibilities by Dntel. Is that kind of dork writing this article? Mind your own business.

Despite the overwhelming success of The Postal Service, Tamborello’s Dntel project (much like his short-lived pop duo Figurine, which featured Tamborello and singer/Dntel collaborator Meredith Landman) never reached the acclaim that it truly deserved. When he made another Dntel album in 2007 – after the monumental whirlwind success of Give Up, the one-and-only record the duo released togethe – he called it Dumb Luck (a fitting comment on the nature of his band’s massive success) and packed it with other guests, like Conor Oberst, Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste, Markus Acher of The Notwist and Rilo Kiley frontwoman (and Postal Service collaborator) Jenny Lewis. The record didn’t capture the attention of the indiesphere in the way it should have, and Tamborello receded from the limelight, punctuated by an anniversary Postal Service tour that, sadly, did seemingly nothing to help his star shine more easily. It would take another five years for him to release 2012’s Aimlessness, and since then, he’s released an excellent-but-not-groundbreaking record every other year.

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Intel